Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Diary of a Restless 4-year Old
I substitute taught for a pre-school class today. And as you might remember, at the height of the day, right after lunch time, the pinnacle of pre-school experience begins: Nap time. You remember it well; laying down on your mat with your favorite disney blanket, laying your head on the small pillow while the teacher puts on meditative music that sound like waves gently hitting the shore, and it all happens next to your favorite stuffed animal. Perfection.
Well, this nap time, I got to see it from the other end. The kids laid on their mats and I suddenly saw the anxiety, the restlessness, the inability to hold still. Nap time was not so restful for some. Being the newbie teacher, I decided to watch what the aids did to quell the agitation in the room. They sat down next to one child, put their hand on the child's back or chest and simply stayed. Within 5 minutes, the child was asleep. Incredible! I wanted to try, so I chose Brian, the kid who was causing me problems all day long. I went and sat right next to him, put my hand on his chest and just gazed into his little brown eyes. He looked back with the resolve of a soldier. As we gazed at each other I could see in his eyes the questions, the fears, the "please don't leave me's." He was starving for attention, starving for someone to be with him, starving for someone to show him how to rest. He didn't flinch, he didn't try to get away, he wanted me with him. He wanted someone, anyone to absorb all of his energy so that he could let go.
And he did. After about 10 minutes Brian let go. Because someone was with him, he could rest.
I wonder if there is a restless four-year old within me. Sometimes I am certain there is. When I anxiously go from task to task to task, when I wander from friendship to friendship, hoping for a different result, when I can't sleep at night because I am so consumed by the future or so haunted by the past; all of these are indications of a restless four-year old. All these are indications that I need someone with me. All of these signal aimless desire for someone to gaze into my eyes and wordlessly communicate that it is ok to rest. How often do I live my life in anxious doing because I fail to recognize the Father's gaze. He is always gazing, but unlike Brian, most of the time I fail to gaze back.